I first began to utilize 'Priestessing' as a verb during my second week postpartum.
During that time I texted my childhood friend, Melanie, from the couch that I was unable to leave. Being stuck on the couch was a surprising situation for me to be in, for while I had planned on doing a 40 day sit in with my newborn Maiden, I hadn't planned on my carefully planned for home water birth becoming a C-section, nor for the recovery time that it would entail. Least of all was I planning on getting an infected cyst inside of my inner thigh just as I began to get the strength to be up and about for extended periods of time on my own.
I had envisioned the sit in being peaceful (which for the most part it was) and myself floating around on a cloud, wearing my baby, breastfeeding and napping, and, while I did nap and breastfed with her consistently I was definitely not floating nor was I wearing her. My stomach incision was too painful and at the moment that I was texting Melanie I was sitting on gauze pads sans pants or underwear oozing pus and blood onto the pad as my baby slept nestled in my arm. I was in shock from an operation that I wasn't expecting, new Motherhood hormones and that darn infected cyst. To top it all off, I was only 8 days into my 40 day sit~in I was starting to feel stir crazy.
On this particular Saturday Melanie was visiting our good friend Shannon and her family, and they were doing what we all normally did every Saturday, ordering dinner, playing with the children and listening to music. Being left out of this everyday activity seemed to highlight the helplessness that I felt. My sit~in didn't feel like a choice anymore. In fact, it felt like everything was falling apart at the seams. My text to Melanie reflected this, I told her just how much I missed everyone, how overwhelmed I felt and how I didn't feel as if any of this was going right. Melanie texted me back uplifting words of encouragement, they were appreciated but fell a bit flat, and then she ended our text with these final three words: "you're a Priestess".
"You're a Priestess," I sat in stillness for a moment, somewhat curious at her choice of words. I sat still while inside of me something stirred. Those words began to elevate me, suddenly the room didn't seem so small, the wound so deep or foreboding. I am a Priestess. As the words echoed in my soul I allowed them to be a balm to the fear, overwhelm and disconnect that I had been feeling. I didn't know why being reminded of my Priestess self was elevating me as it was, but in that moment it didn't matter, it was working and that was all that counted.
This inspiring and baffling experience was reminiscent of one that I had had five years prior. I had been in the beginning stages of transitioning from practicing Christian mysticism to stepping onto a path of Goddess Spirituality. As the transition was unfolding I was coping with a virus that I had picked up. I was disillusioned by this virus, everything that I had thought that I knew about the illusion of sickness was disproven to me in the wake of the virus. This virus challenged my conviction and brought to the surface even more trepidation about including a new way of spiritual practice into my life, I doubted myself and my faith. I prayed and the prayers felt silly, I went deep within for months and finally one day as I was walking, full of anxiety and upset I began to recite all of the Truths that I knew in an attempt to find solace. As I listed them, one by one, they dissolved and I came to the startling realization that I didn't believe them anymore. Panic rose and fluttered in my chest, all that I had held onto began to fade away, one recited truth at a time and a sense of desolation began to cloak me. Finally, I was left with only one last truth to examine, "God exists", I went to that truth and found that this one stuck. That was true. I knew that. Suddenly peace flooded me. The peace that flooded me confused me, I did try to analyze this experience, "God exists, yeah but if I don't know if God actually loves me personally, or if God is actually inside of me, or if God actually wipes away all illusion, or if God, or if God, or if God," I tried to conceptualize the peace that knowing the Creator was, offered me. However, despite my busy brain and having no other attributes that I could connect to this concept of 'God' at that moment in my journey, that particular truth continued to bring me peace, God is was the truth that cocooned me through the rest of my transition into Goddess spirituality.
And so, once again, I sat with a truth that brought me a sense of peace that made little sense to my rational mind. What in the world did being a Priestess have anything to do with oozing pus and blood out of my inner thigh as my engorged breasts leaked and I was left sitting in constant moisture? I didn't know and it didn't matter, because knowing that I was a Priestess was making everything lighter.
From this point on I went from using the statement "I am a Priestess" to going within throughout the day to seek out ways that I could Priestess a situation, slowly Priestessing was becoming a verb, an action word that worked in my day to day life and I began to see how this Priestess archetype can serve me outside of the ritual circle, the psychic readings and the energy healings. I could Priestess my child to sleep, Priestess the walk that I took, or Priestess my trip to the store.
Simply put a Priestess connects the Heavenly realm and the Earth realm, she is the conduit between the two, the space where both merge. Therefore, at anytime during my extremely Earthbound experiences I can Priestess them into a space of lightness and magic and in the same respect I need not get lost in the ethers, I need not become so enchanted with the Higher realms that I completely check out from my day to day life.
What this meant for me, as I sat there one week postpartum, partially in shock and fear, was that I could begin to be the space where both Higher purpose and practicality met. I went within searching for Heaven in the midst of my couchbound stay and found that Heaven lied in my ability to sit and to be still, that if I could trust that there was a natural rhythm to my life, that in surrendering my days as I do daily to Goddess, that I am moved out of chaos and into Divine Order, then there was a Higher purpose to my wound and my sitting. I committed right then to begin to Priestess that situation. In my Earthly experience I had been filled with terror, I had such a viceral fear of being seperated from my daughter that I became paralyzed with the thought that my infection would land me in the hospital. I dug in deep in the face of the fear and the hormones and I called on that Priestess archetype and I began to have some calm descend and some semblenace of clarity began to open up my view of life in that moment.
I saw that I had created a situation that would ensure that I stayed put with my newborn, that my human self was getting antsy already and my Higher self didn't want me rushing through these first 40 days. I began to listen to the message my body was giving me and I healed up within 24 hours, and I stayed sat. I had a few more Earth bound issues come up in the next few weeks, a maternity check that just wasn't being processed, a trip to the government office that I was not planning on taking with my newborn and some aches and pains in places that were a bit concerning to me. My Earth bound self went first to panic, and then, after a deep breath, to faith. I dug deep, I followed the Navarati Goddess' as the festival of Navarati was occurring during my 40 day sit~in. I asked myself how much faith I had in my Divine Mother? Was I believing I was taken care of? When I truly left it all in Her hands the situations rectified themselves and flowed with the grace that occurs when I am surrendered. In that instance I Priestessed my panic simply by going within.
I am a Priestess. I put this truth into action, into the details of the more mundane aspects of daily living and rather then being bogged down and irritated by tasks that are utterly uninspiring I become inspired when I Priestess, then everything becomes a tool to call forth my Priestess self. Priestessing doesn't make things easier, or more comfortable neccessairly, but it does give me the impetus to connect to my Highest Self and to grow.
Today I call upon the act of Priestessing to brighten my day, to inspire it, to lift it up and to remind me of the power that I have as a conduit of both the Heavenly and the Earthly realms. Each woman has the Priestess archetype inside of her, this archetype is freeing and empowering in the ability it gives each one of us to be the Sovereign leader of our daily path and the source of inspired action.
Some of the ways that I 'Priestess' throughout my day include:
Playing a Priestessing game with myself in which each person that I meet, I take the time to look deep behind their eyes until I find the spark of Divinity. Once found, I pretend that their expression of Source has come to see if She can trick me into believing that She is but a mere mortal in front of me. This game keeps me seeking Goddess, it helps me to see Her in every person that I come across, while also ensuring that I treat others as the sacred beings that they are. Years after starting this 'game' I learnt that this is an ancient process called Transfiguration. Transfiguration is an inspiring crown opening gift for myself and my community and one of my favourite ways to Priestess my visits and interactions with others.
Blessing my food. The Feminine in me enjoys the gifts of this realm, including, at times.... gasp, some less then raw, vegan meals and snacks. The freedom that I find on my path, is the freedom to walk a spiral rather then a straight line, for those times when I wish to veer off of my clean living choice of nourishment I can Priestess my meal or snack, by going within, connecting to Source, grounding down into Gaia, laying my hands over my food and emitting love and light into the molecules that I am about to ingest, acknowledging the presence of Goddess right there. Of course blessing all meals and snacks is optimal and I do enjoy Priestessing all of my food and drinks by taking a moment to find the Divine within my meal and beverage, I just take a little extra time on those 'cheat treats'.
I Priestess my relaxation time, rather then feeling as though I am being 'lazy' or as if I am escaping the world by taking a break to rest, read, play a game or watch a show I can connect my activity to the Heavenly realm through the intention that I offer it. If the show that I watch is chosen with mindfulness (Call the Midwife is a favourite of mine right now), the book that I read is one with uplifting, fun or inspiring content, the game that I'm playing calls to my inner Maiden, or, the nap that I take is honoured through the blessing and intention of rejuvenation, then I am remembering that even my rest and relaxation is feeding my soul and spirit and I am making it so through my mindfulness.
I Priestess my daily hygiene practices, calling upon the water spirits to cleanse me in my shower and when I wash my hands. I connect to the vitamins and minerals in the lotions that I rub into my skin. Creating a ritual out of my hygiene routines makes my time in the bathroom one of pampering, I become the Goddess being adorned. I can light a candle, run a shower, use a salt rub and enjoy the aroma of the essential oils in my rub, connecting all of the four major elements together.
I Priestess the clothes that I wear by connecting to the colour vibration that I am feeling for the day, or the colour vibration that I would like to feed me, my daily attire becomes a sacred expression and a tool to lift my vibration.
These are but a few of the ways that I call upon Priestessing throughout the day to inspire and uplift me. It is a way that my presence becomes one of Highest expression in the world. I do not need to seek to constantly be engaged in 'holy', 'spiritual' work, nor do I label one activity as 'sacred' and the other as 'mundane'. I become the deciding factor about what is sacred and holy, as the Christ once said "the place whereon I stand is holy ground'. Priestessing has given me a nook in the spiritual community where I feel as though I fit, it has enabled me to live life as sacred, it has freed me to perform the human tasks assigned to me as though they are the most Divine assignments and it has given me a grounded foundation upon which to mother my daughter. As I begin my days I look to Priestess my tasks and activities and I find that at the centre of all that I do is the living breathing Goddess. Perhaps you will find the same as well, if in a long line at the grocery store, sitting in a traffic jam, or preparing to zone out and take a break from a heavy day, you too, pause, go within and ask yourself 'how can I Priestess this right now?'
Grace Be With You
Priestess of Grace
Candise Soaring Butterfly
image: Courtesy of Art Renewal Center at www.artrenewal.org